The Name

powder keg is a barrel of gunpowder. The powder keg was the primary method for storing and transporting large quantities of black powder until the 1870s and the adoption of the modern cased bullet. Barrels had to be handled with care; a spark or other source of heat could cause the contents to explode.

The Legend

The Powder Keg was started by Doc Lucas Potgieter 40 years ago, he ran the business with his wife Wendie until the Doc sadly passed away on 4 July 2011 at age 79. The Doc was known as a firearms expert and a respected writer on firearms and hunting experiences. In addition to the 4 books that he wrote he provided articles to Landbouweekblad for about 45 years and ran a television program on hunting. It is said that the Doc wrote more than 1200 articles for various publications.

CHASA put out the following press release on the passing of the Doc:

“Doc Lucas was an absolute doyen of hunting in Africa and is probably one of the best known names in hunting circles in South Africa. He wrote the popular “Boer en sy Roer” column in Landbouweekblad for many years and served on the ExCo of SA Hunters & Game Conservation Assoc. and as its President in 1976/7 when they were still part of the CHASA fold. He owned the well-known gun shop The Powder Keg which held agency for some of the top brands of firearms and accessories.”

Wendie, a Legend in Her Own Right

After Doc Lucas’ death Wendie was in charge of The Powder Keg. It was not common knowledge that Wendie had been suffering from cancer for several years, and not many of the patrons of The Powder Keg were aware of Wendie’s extraordinary resilience in the face of illness. In spite of her health issues Wendie remained dedicated and involved with the daily running of The Powder Keg.

Wendie’s passing on 2nd October 2014 came as a shock to all who knew her, she will be remembered as a crucial part of The Powder Keg’s success story, having been at Doc Lucas’ side for the better part of four decades, and always actively engaged in the business. Wendie was also a keen sportswoman and shared her late husband’s love for the bushveld.

The Dawn of a New Era

1 January 2016 marked the start of a new era at The Powder Keg; new owners had the privilege to continue in a business rich in history, but equally entrusted to build on the legacy of the Potgieters’. The logo was refreshed as a symbol to customers and to our team of what that they could expect going forward.

At the Powder Keg you will not hear anyone speak about the owners of the business; that is because we prefer to speak about our leadership and our team. The Powder Keg leadership is driven by the creation of value for customers – that is what matters. We have chosen a path of continuous improvement, continuous learning and a desire to serve customers. You will hear us speak about focus, passion, forthright dealing, strategy, implementation; a Powder Keg culture that is more important than any one person or owner of the business.

The Powder Keg history was built on great people, great partnerships and great products. Before L&O (owners of the Mauser and Blaser brands) established operations in South Africa, The Powder Keg was responsible for the exclusive distribution of these quality firearms. The relationship with L&O is strong, simply put – WIN WIN. The cash flow that The Powder Keg saved in not having to import large quantities of Blaser and Mauser firearms is being put to other strategic product sourcing. The Powder Keg now offers a wider range of best in class products.

In 2016 The Powder Keg has secured exclusive distribution of Kahles and Delta optics, Chevalier hunting clothing, Huglu shotguns and fine custom guns of Grulla and Ales Spendal. The Powder Keg turned away product exclusivities that were not defined as best in class. We need to focus on building those supplier partnerships already created. At The Powder Keg we believe in 2 balls in the hand vs. 20 in the air.

The strategy of The Powder Keg is to represent best in class brands; we sell benefits and features. We are not order takers. The Powder Keg will wholesale and retail through the same entity, our success with dealers will be based on trust and respect; we do not believe in disguising a wholesale entity – simply no need.

The Powder Keg in 2016 will complete the building of a platform necessary for future growth that will be a combination of innovative approaches to market, innovative product lines, and partnerships of mutual advantage. See the section on “meet the team”, these are the people entrusted with the new vision of The Powder Keg.